Almost every player who laces up a pair of skates at the Junior A level has dreams of making it to the NHL. Not all of them make it, obviously, but Wild alum Nic Dowd is one that successfully made the leap, currently rostered by the NHL’s Washington Capitals.
Dowd had attended the Culver Military Academy Prep school in Culver, IN during the 2007-08 season, and began the following season in the NAHL with the defending Roberston Cup Champion St. Louis Bandits. After just three games, he was traded to the expansion Wenatchee Wild where he helped lead the team all the way to the Robertson Cup final where the Wild were defeated in overtime by Dowd’s former club. Dowd’s playoff run was fierce, piling up 22 points in 13 games. That summer, Dowd was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the seventh round. He opted to try his hand in the USHL the following season, joining the Indiana Ice for his final junior season.
His collegiate career at St. Cloud State University was exemplary. As a sophomore and junior he made the WCHA All-Academic team. As a senior, and team captain, he was a first team All-Star, Scholar Athlete of the Year, first team All-American, and was named Best Defensive Forward. He was also a Hobey Baker Award finalist as his team went on to win their Regular Season Championship. After the Huskies season ended, he joined the Manchester Monarchs, who at the time were the AHL affiliate of the Kings.
Dowd finished the final seven games of the Monarchs season and a short playoff series, then returned the following year to be part of an AHL Calder Cup championship. In the offseason, the Kings swapped the Monarchs franchise with the Ontario (CA) Reign of the ECHL to bring their AHL operation closer to Los Angeles. Dowd and the rest of the Monarchs headed west to compete as the Ontario Reign for the 2015-16 season, and he got the call in March to join the parent club. He made his NHL debut on March 22, 2016 for Los Angeles on the road against the Minnesota Wild. He would appear in 5 games for Los Angeles. He is the first Wenatchee Wild alum to skate in an NHL game.
The following season (2016-17) Dowd played in 70 of 82 games for the Kings and never looked back. He began the next season in LA but after 16 games was traded to Vancouver where he finished the season. In the offseason, he was dealt to the Washington Capitals where he played in 64 games last season. In April 2019, the Capitals signed Dowd to a three-year contract extension.